Ellis-type compound inhaler

1870-1910 in London
Savigny and Company

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Bottle and case from a Robert Ellis's mixed vapour inhaler for alcohol, choloroform and ether mixture anaesthesia by Savigny and Co., London, 1870-1910

Robert Ellis (1822-1885), a British obstetric surgeon, developed this inhaler in the 1860s at a time when the safety of chloroform was in dispute – the substance had been linked to a number of deaths. In his inhaler, alcohol, ether and chloroform were vaporised to be used as a combined anaesthetic. Rubber tubing connects the brass chamber to a mouthpiece through which the vapours could be breathed.

The Chloroform Committee of 1864 claimed that the use of a depressant (chloroform) could be counteracted by stimulants (ether and alcohol). Intended for use in surgery and childbirth, Ellis’s inhaler never gained mainstream use. This example was made by Savigny & Co.

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Object Number:
case, wood, cloth, instrument, brass, leather, covered and velvet, lined
face mask: 72 mm x 150 mm x 80 mm, .14kg
bottle: 92 mm x 120 mm, 73 mm, .55kg
box: 92 mm x 248 mm x 112 mm, .48 mm,
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
Royal Society of Medicine

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